Skip to main content

1980-81: Gretzky Smashes Records, Bossy Nets 50 In 50

The Three Stars:

Gretzky Breaks Records: Get used to seeing Wayne Gretzky's name A LOT this decade. Gretzky smashed Phil Esposito's record for most points in a season with 164 and Bobby Orr's record for most assists with 109. Gretzky cleaned up at the awards table with the Art Ross Trophy, the Hart Trophy and the Lady Byng trophy. Surprisingly, Edmonton finished the season with a losing record.

Islanders Dominate: The New York Islanders repeat as Stanley Cup champions in a most memorable season. On January 24th, 1981 Mike Bossy joins Rocket Richard as the only two players to score 50 goals in 50 games. Bossy, who scored his 50th goal with just 1:29 left in the game, finishes with a league leading 68 goals. He adds another 17 goals and a NHL record 35 points in 18 playoff games to lead the Isles to Stanley Cup number two. Surprisingly, Bossy does not win the Conn Smythe and is not even a finalist for the Hart Trophy.

Stastnys Defect: Brothers Peter and Anton Stastny, stars of Czechoslovakia's national team, defect to North America amid much fanfare and sign with the Quebec Nordiques. Peter sets a rookie record with 109 points and wins the Calder trophy. Their success leads to further defections (including older brother Marian who joins the Nordiques the next season) and eventually to an agreement with the Czechoslovak Federation to allow veteran players to leave their country legally.

Season Highlights:

  • LA's Charlie Simmer also chased 50 goals in 50 games, but came up dry in games 49 and 50. He had 49 at the 50 game mark, then had to settle for a total of 56 due to injury. Surprisingly Simmer only took 171 shots for a shooting percentage of an amazing 32.7%
  • Simmer really helped Marcel Dionne to banner season. Dionne finished second in the league with 58 goals, 3rd with 77 assists and 2nd with 135 points. Dionne also reaches the 1000 career point mark in 740 games - the youngest at that time.
  • Guy Lafleur and Bobby Clarke both reach the 1000 point marker. 
  • Mark Howe suffers a near fatal injury as he is checked into the immovable net and is speared in his buttock, barely missing his spine. He returned after 17 games. The NHL immediately began looking for ways to have nets that broke free in the event of such collisions.
  • Mike Liut wins the Pearson trophy and is runner up to Wayne Gretzky for the Hart Trophy with is spectacular season. Liut won 33 of his 60 games, but it was incredible play with an average St. Louis team.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M